Built like a Canon PowerShot G12 on steroids, the new PowerShot G1 X has a large 14.3-million-pixel sensor and a 28-112mm equivalent lens. Could it be the compact camera that finally replaces your DSLR?
Build & Handling
Although the PowerShot G12 and G1 X may look alike when viewed in isolation, there is actually quite a difference in size. The new camera measures 116.7×80.5×64.7mm compared to the G12’s 112.1×76.2×48.3mm. These few millimetres add up, and those struggling to squeeze the G12 into a pocket will be stretching the fabric further still with the G1 X.
As compact cameras go, the G1 X is one of the largest, although when considered next to a compact system camera with kit zoom lens attached it is, if anything, smaller. This is due to the 28-112mm lens being retractable, which prevents it from protruding from the front of the camera much more than a pancake lens would on a CSC.
The G1 X may look as though it is built of plastic, but it is constructed from a magnesium alloy, making it as reassuringly strong as it is cold when picked up. Thankfully, the handgrip has a textured rubber finish, although long-fingered individuals may find that the handgrip could do with being slightly more pronounced to allow their fingers to curl around it a little easier.
The layout of the camera will be familiar to anyone who has used a PowerShot G-series model in the past few years. On the rear is a control dial, surrounded by a series of buttons that will allow the ISO, metering, AF and flash settings to be changed quickly. There is also a function button that can be assigned to a setting of the user’s choice.
On the top-plate sits the mode dial, making it easy to change from, say, aperture priority to fully manual or program mode. Below this is a secondary dial that applies exposure compensation. Having access to exposure compensation via a large, well-labelled dial is a real selling point for this camera, and makes it as easy and quick to apply brightness changes in the same way as when using a DSLR.
Around the camera’s shutter button is the zoom control toggle switch, which is neatly positioned. Just below this on the front is a control wheel that adjusts the aperture. Again, this is another nice touch that DSLR users will really appreciate. One thing that would make the handling even better would be a secondary control wheel on the rear that could be operated by the thumb.
Instead, this space is taken up with a direct video record button. While this makes it easy to record video, I feel that the target market for this camera would much prefer a secondary control wheel in this position.
Overall, the camera handles very well, with everything where we would want and expect it to be. The high-resolution display makes the on-screen menus and settings clearly visible, and the camera’s menu system is unchanged from that found in virtually all current Canon compacts. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Although it is quite large for a compact camera, I didn’t find the size of the G1 X a problem. Rather than worrying about a pocket in which to fit the camera, I would instead recommend the ever-ready-style Canon SC-DC75 case, and simply carry the camera around your neck.